It is interesting to me how my memory seems to be too full, like a box packed full and tight, so deep that it’s hard to get to stuff so I only use what’s closest to the top.
This weekend I joined Dan on a trip, to spend some time in his work world. I assumed I’d have some quiet time in a hotel room where I could think and draw and read. Instead I got the chance to reconnect with friends and acquaintances, pulling memories up from deep in the box. I dug into that box and remembered my teaching years and teachers I worked and played with. I remembered that some of the most beautiful people in the world are art teachers. I remembered being little Cassie and how it felt to be engaged in art projects in school. I remembered the smell of paste glue and poster paint. I remembered being Mrs. Barney in my noisy, happy classroom. Those are good memories. Art teachers are special and lucky because they share what they love and make school a better place.
I met a young artist this weekend named Jason Metcalf. An artwork he did delighted and influenced me preceding my paper flowers making episode. His enthusiasm for art and life match mine and he understands completely what I wanted to learn and do with project mummy. Dan, Jason and I talked all the way home from St. George about art and theory and what we want to do with it.
I came around to a question that often bothers me, “am I giving enough?” Some days when I’m sitting in my studio all warm and happy and full, I remember that there are others when are cold and sad and empty and I want to share and give. I want to fix and I want to heal. I also feel like my pretty little paintings are insignificant compared to the contributions of others, but again I came to an idea. I remembered that right now, this is what I have to give. There are large things I can’t do, but there are little things that I can. There are things that I can’t have, but there are things that I do have. When my heart starts to droop I’m lucky to have a sweet partner who gently props it back up with kind words. Among other things, Dan said that my paintings are like poems. I loved to hear that because I love poetry. Jason told me about something he heard on NPR’s This I Believe. I can't stop the war in Iraq, I can't reverse global warming, I can't solve the problems of my community or the world, but I can mend things at hand. I can darn a pair of socks.
I got something better than quiet time this weekend, I got to remember.